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Rapist, Sex Offender Gets OK To Practice As Florida MD

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(Source: FDLE Sex OffenderWebsite)

(Source: FDLE Sex OffenderWebsite)

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami.com) – Would you want a convicted rapist as your doctor? In Florida, that’s apparently OK, according the the Florida Board of Medicine, which voted Friday to allow a doctor who raped a co-worker to return to medical practice. The board decided  being a rapist had nothing to do with being a good doctor.

The board, meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, made the decision in the case of Tampa doctor Mark Seldes a former Air Force flight surgeon who was serving in South Korea when he was accused of raping a civilian co-worker. He was convicted in a military court-martial in 2008,  served 3 years in prison, and was dismissed from the service for rape and adultery. He was also forced to be registered as a sex offender, and appears in the Florida Sex Offender Registry.

Dr. Seldes could have been sentenced to life in prison.

An account of the case in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes said the rape victim was asleep, under medication, at the time the assault occurred. His attorney claimed the assault was not violent, and that the two had a previous sexual relationship. The Stars and Stripes said the two had been together for a week and not had a full sexual experience before the rape.

In addition to being a rapist, the assault happened as Seldes was cheating on his wife in an affair with his victim.

In his court martial, his military lawyer asked the jury to consider the fact he had long service with the military, and the fact he was “losing his medical career.”

Apparently, the State of Florida sees things differently.

No longer in the military, Dr. Seldes wanted Florida to allow him to resume that career and practice medicine in the state, despite the rape conviction.

“He was a man who made a terrible mistake to engage in a relationship with an individual who was not his wife, and has destroyed his career and has certainly brought dire consequences on his marriage,” Attorney Kenneth Haber said.

“Anytime the word rape is used, it rises to a level that gives me great concern, and I’m unwilling to say that this doctor should keep practicing in Florida,” said Don Mullins, a consumer member of the board.”

But one of the physicians on the panel strongly disagreed.

“I take a different view,” Dr. Zach Zachariah said. “In my personal opinion, he has paid his penance.

In the end, the board voted 7-3 to allow Seldes to practice, so long as he completes 300 hours of community service, remains in a monitoring program for troubled physicians, and works in a government facility.

The state agreed not to put him on formal probation, after Seldes argued  that probation might make it hard for him to get a job in the future.

Seldes’ wife looked on as the panel allowed her husband to resume his life as a doctor. It was not known if his victim was present at the hearing..

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